In general you guys need some serious help with mixing and EQ. A lot of these are painful to listen to. I’m of course not talking to Chris, Ross, Ben,Ryan, Steve or Mitchell. I asked my producer (Ken M) where I could point you guys to help out. This is where he suggested: http://www.recordingwebsite.com/articles/eqprimer.php
There are some gems in this crop! I don’t get the shadow thing, so I refrained from reviewing them, though I have to say the Dave Ritter tune was entertaining!
SpinTunes #2 Round Two: Sequel
17th place 1pt - Ben Walker (When I’m A Hundred And Two) - I searched all over the internet for an excuse to keep you qualified. I really loved this song. “When I’m 64” is one of those profound perfect songs, and far more popular in my world than nearly any song on any Billboard top 20. I’m amazed this song choice DQs you. I’m very sorry. And I’m angry. This sequel is excellent. This is great song on its own. It fits quite nicely as a follow up to the classic. The mix is excellent too. I’ll be keeping this and enjoying this for years. Your vocals and harmonies are superb! Nice groove with all the instruments. I enjoyed the “They’re going to crucify me” John Lennon reference, but I don’t get why it is there. I’m really mad you’re out of the contest. You were certainly a contender; I wanted to hear you compete deep into the competition. Anyway, fantastic job on this track! Sad to see you go. (I had you in 3rd place, were you to qualify)
16th place 2pts - Danny Blackwell (Like A Family) - WTF! This is just mono in my right ear? This dis-allows headphone listening. It’s quiet. You’re not even trying. Did you spend even an hour on this? There is nothing inventive or catchy in this to grab on to. Your voice is nice, your playing is okay. I didn’t like this at all.
15th place 3pts - Edric Haleen (O! Say Can You See?) - I trust this is legal. I trust there was some Star Spangled Banner version in the Top 20. This is painful to listen to. You are an excellent singer. I am impressed with your vocal abilities, and then baffled by your taste. This kind of Grobin schmaltz makes me murderous. I cringe with disgust. I think there’s some genre bias, but there’s plenty of acts in the vocalist section I enjoy. That vibrato reminds me of everyone who ever sang in church. Along with the piano, perhaps this just reminds me of church way too much. I hated church.
14th place 4pts - Inverse T. Clown (Hey Jessie) - The vocals are way too far upfront. Of course who wants to crank the drum machine? Another solo that just mimicks the vocal melody. Yawn. Ooooh edgy swearing! Ughhhhhh Up a step? Seriously? Really?
13th place 5pts - Common Lisp (Science 'In The service Of Beauty') - The mix is terrible. The groove is herky jerky and nearly the opposite of a groove. I do think this is inventive. I enjoyed the variety of timbres that weave in and out of the song. The cadence of the vocal speak-sing is painful. The melody is barely existent. I actually enjoyed the synth solo at 2:24. Although it just outlined the vocal melody. The rhythm guitar sounds like it’s in a different song. “The band” is not playing together. They’re all doing their own thing. Challenge is met well.
12th Place 6pts - Duality (Mars Ain’t The Kind Of Place) - There’s a lady I know, and if I didn’t know her, she’d be the lady I didn’t know. She’s choppin’ Broccoli!!! By that I mean this sounds improvised. This is pleasant background dinner music. However, when paying attention to it, it’s pretty boring. Your playing is nice; the subtle synth additions are tasteful. Your singing is really nice. You’re this low for the writing. It all just feels meandering. Challenge is met well.
11th place 7pts - Brian Gray (One More Cloud) - This mix is really awful. Vocals are way too up front. I hate the drum sound. What’s up with the big 80’s vibe for a 90’s staple? The challenge is met well. Why the dinosaur feet pace for this? The karaoke mix is painful. I like the guitar bend hook.
10th place 8pts - Governing Dynamics (Melt In The Sun) - You guys are killing me with your mixes. Vocals are too fucking loud! Especially when they are pitchy. The lead vocal is solid. That harmony vocal gets props for the effort but, falls a little short. The mix isn’t helping. Nice Dynamics! Hey, this solo is really cool. Then the vocals crap all over it. You’ve written a nice rock song, a rerecording could really rock. Oh shit, you’re responding to “Fake Plastic Trees”? Pretty damn bold! They made the top 20? I trust they did. That song always makes my top 5 of the 90’s decade. The vocals, the mix, the melody hold this down here as it is. I don’t like the lyrics much, but it checks the box.
9th place 9pts - Zarni De Wet (Stacy’s Dad) - The mix needs help. There are a lot of unwanted noises. That synth line is pretty cool, but I can barely hear it. Vocals are way too upfront. Anyway, from last round you were the only act that I didn’t already know and spent a while checking out your online presence. WOW! You are a star in the making. Incredibly talented! Young and at Berkelee, that’s awesome! So, going back to Stacy’s Dad; this is a crappy song based on a crappier song. It’s performed excellent, your voice is amazing. This meets the challenge well. Why do this song? It lifts maybe a little too heavily from the original. I trust you’ll survive. I think you’re a contender; you have the talent for sure. Let’s see how the writing goes! Some tasty lines in the lyrics!
8th place 10pts - Gweebol (Thank You Mr. Postman) - Those weird reverb effects on the shouting backing vocals are awkward. It would be alright with me if I never heard that clapping pattern again. The Tambourine is way too loud, the vocals are too loud, and the piano is too low. This could really stand to have some louder drums, especially kick. I didn’t need the “hope I’m not being to forward”. Motown is all about the rhythm section. The vocals are very nice! I appreciate the melody a lot! Backing vocals are very nice. Challenge is met well.
7th place 11pts - Mitchell Adam Johnson (When Donna Came Back) - Whew! Nice to hear a nice mix! Now I can concentrate on the song. The details are really sweet in this recording. I like this song. I don’t love it. Yes! Tasty sweet solo, love the guitar tone, it was too damn short, but fitting. This is one of the best takes on the challenge. Well done!
6th place 12pts - Charlie McCarron (Over The Bridge) - This is fantastic, this might have been higher on my list were it not for the drums. This is a response sequel to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It sounds like it’s attempting to groove akin to RHCP, but the drums fail you. The bass line is nice and groovy and flea-like. You’re a much better singer than Anthony; I would have guessed you choosing a Smiths song. A sequel to “Ask” would have been my guess. The song is good, the lyrics are good. Nice dynamics! This seems to be rather modeled after “Under”, as well it should. Good job!
5th place 13pts - Steve Durand (Miranda) - It’s just glorious to hear you play your horn. Nice bass line! The acoustic sounds good too. Your vocals are good too! I like the assembly of the band leading to the drum kicking in Chorus. Excellent take on the challenge! The chord change at the end of the chorus is my favorite part. Well done!
4th place 14pts - Rebecca Brickley (Elderly Dream) - I really hate hand claps in that rhythm. It’s so tired. Despite that nitpick, this is awesome. You rose above my distain for GnG ! You did this with super tight guitar playing. It’s in the pocket, and it complements the vocal line. The melody is very good and engaging. The vocals are dynamic and well performed. Good job!
3rd place 15pts - Ryan Ruff Smith (Baby, We’re Through) - I really dig this. The surf guitar sounds great. It’s a nice mix too! Vocals are terrific. The organ/guitar solo is nice. The drums sound really good, but I am TIRED of that beat. Your vocals are really nice, the “sha la la”s are beautiful. I wish the bass was louder, but it’s a nice supportive line. Excellent take on the challenge! Well done!
2nd place 16pts - Ross Durand (Folsom Breakout Blues) - Nailed it! It’s obvious you’re a Veteran of these contests. You “walk the line” perfectly. That is the line of how original to be and how much to quote the prequel. The mix is stellar! Everything is spot on, the vocals, the lyrics, the drums, the bass, the guitar, the solo, I had a tough time deciding my favorite of these top 2 songs. Much of the week I had you in 1st. It’s a tough call. This is a new RD classic for me. Awesome track! You knocked the challenge out of the park!
1st place 17pts - Chris Cogott (Roadward Bound) - Ross was very close behind you, but this ultimately has to take the top spot. Again with my number one pick! It is clear which song this is a sequel too. The guitar playing is amazing. Sure it’s just a bear claw, but perfectly performed. The complimentary guitar is tasteful too. It’s very clear you know how to record; the tambourine is in the right place in both mix and composition. The harmonies are gorgeous; as they should be dare one to write a sequel to S & G. Excellent lyrics, I especially like the “.. nicotine patches” couplet. Super job!